Multifactorial Cognitive Training can Slow down the Cognitive Decline in Early Alzheimer Patients: Advanced Study

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most frequent dementia in the over 70-year-old people. Among the strategies examined to slow down the progression of AD, cognitive stimulation is underexplored. Yet, numerous studies showed that at early stage of AD, the brain is still able to show plasticity. Therefore, an adapted cognitive training can be considered as an efficient tool to fight the cognitive side of the pathology.  Objective: In the present study we investigate the potential of a memory and attention cognitive training to face the cognitive deficit observed in mild to moderate AD patients (n = 12; MMSE: 22.1 ± 0.9).  Methods: We proposed a training program (15 sessions from 90 to 120 min every two weeks) using a large set of memory and attentional tasks as well as various semantic tasks. Particular attention was given to the personalization of the difficulty level and content of the tasks as well as to the minimization of errors and negative experiences. Another important aspect of the training was the involvement of the caregiver in the training process during and between the sessions.  Results: Our results show a positive impact of our training program on one memory process, i.e., the recall, and one executive ability, i.e., verbal fluency. The impact on recall highlight that a memory training using recognition as retrieval mode can help improving recall in AD patients in the early stage as we already showed it in a MCI patients. The impact on verbal fluency shows that training the manipulation of semantic material through many different tasks may improve access to the lexicon.  Conclusion: The present results bring new data showing that at early stage of the disease, an adapted cognitive training program has the potential to slow down the cognitive decline of the disease.

Author (s) Details

Béatrice Alescio-Lautier
Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, LNSC, FR3C, Marseille, France

Bernard-François Michel
Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, LNSC, FR3C, Marseille, France and Department of Neurological Behavior, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille, Sainte-Marguerite Hospital, Marseille, France.

Caroline Chambon
Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, LNSC, FR3C, Marseille, France

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